New drug cocktail appears to block COVID among people exposed to virus
U.Va. Health is testing antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
The University of Virginia Health System is testing an antibody cocktail that so far has blocked 100% of symptomatic COVID-19 cases among people who were exposed to the coronavirus, U.Va. Health announced this week.
New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals produces the treatment, which is being tested at several facilities, and also has proven to be effective for people who develop asymptomatic infections. According to early data, these subjects saw fewer viral antibodies in their systems than without treatment and also saw the infections end faster. Overall symptomatic and asymptomatic infection rates were approximately 50% lower in the patients receiving the cocktail, according to U.Va.
“This is the first treatment shown to prevent COVID-19 after a known exposure, and offers protection for unvaccinated individuals caring for a family member with COVID-19,” Dr. William Petri Jr., one of the study’s leaders and a professor of medicine and vice chair of research at U.Va., said in a statement. “We expect that Regeneron will file for emergency use authorization from the FDA so that this drug can be used outside of the context of a clinical trial.”
In phase 3 trials, the cocktail could next be sent for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s not considered the same as a vaccine, as the cocktail would not provide permanent immunity, but it appears to be useful for people who were exposed to the virus but have not yet gotten COVID-19, according to Petri.